Equality is slow in Sweden. Equality is fast in Sweden.

People get frustrated here that men don’t take more paternity leave.  Which is good.  In context of the world, Sweden is a paradise of equal parenting.  In context of equality, it’s, well, only OK.  But, still, I have trouble with the impatience, coming from the US and its safety net wasteland.

Which is why I was so happy to see this article in Dagens Nyheter last month.  I quote its most telling stat in another post – that by the 2020s, parental leave days will be split equally between fathers and mothers.  There is a very easy graph in the piece – picture 2, not picture 1.  From the lead of the piece (courtesy of Google Translate):

It is time for a reappraisal. We social scientists and others have often noted that gender equality is slow – and that the great differences between men and women persist. But it is time to abandon this pessimistic picture that often characterizes the public debate. Developments over the past decade suggests that much of the gender equality objectives will be met as early as the 2020s, writes Michael Nordenmark.

Sweden gave men the right to paternity leave in 1974.  So 50 years.  A long time in some respects but for a major epochal shift in family structure?

A blink of the eye …


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